Day: March 3, 2018

12 Ways Trump is a Nightmare for Putin


I am frustrated to still hear the silliness about how President Donald Trump is soft on Russia.  It continues to be a mainstream talking point, repeated by congresspeople pushing impeachment and pundits like Max “I would rather vote for Stalin than Trump” Boot.  Our friends the Germans even made this disgusting parade float of a Russian bear sodomizing Trump.

Their argument is insane.  Not tethered to reality.  A supreme attempt to gaslight normal people.

Below is a list of all the ways that Trump’s policies are anathema to Moscow.  They are coordinated and deliberate, to help America and undermine Russia.  Trump may not be saying as many mean things about Putin as the media say about Trump, but he has taken the concrete actions of a dead serious man.

As a point of contrast, please keep in mind that ex-president Barack Obama’s pro-Russian policies included granting Russia permanent normal trade relations, ushering the Russians into the WTO, and a “reset button.”  It would be easy to go on at length about how Obama helped Russia.

Without further ado, the list:

1. Trump is unleashing the American energy industry: more fracking, more offshore drilling, and approval for the Keystone Pipeline.  This is important because 52% of the Russian government budget comes from sales of oil and gas.  Increased American supplies of fossil fuels will push global prices down, costing Putin many billions of dollars on a recurring basis.

2. Trump took the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA).

Putin was a strong backer of the PCA.  He said, “[C]limate change has become one of the gravest challenges that humanity is facing” and called for a legally binding treaty.  He has a few motivations for this.  First, each time the U.S. submits to international treaties and organizations, Russia gains control over America.  Second, as part of the PCA, Obama wanted to donate $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund.  These international funds are ripe for plunder by Russia.  Finally, the PCA would hurt American coal and help Russian gas.

3. Trump is permitting American companies to export liquefied natural gas.  The first shipment arrived in Poland in June of 2017.  A Polish diplomat described it as a “milestone.”  This will help Poland avoid “energy bullying” from Russia.  In addition to weakening Russia’s position politically, it will, once again, hurt Russia economically.  (Angela Merkel and Germany prefer Russian gas.)

Note how many policies Trump has coordinated that hurt Russia economically in a significant way.  Trump is, as Theodore Roosevelt would say, “speaking softly and carrying a big stick.”

4. Trump approved a deal to sell Poland an anti-missile defense system.  Russia will become weaker politically because it will have less leverage to blackmail Poland.  Russia’s comparative military strength is being diminished.  It will have a harder time attacking Poland – a threat the Polish people live with daily and take seriously.

5. Trump has approved the sale of $47 billion’s worth of defensive arms to Ukraine.  This was a move that “lawmakers of both parties have been urging for years.”  Russians will die because of this.  Insofar as Putin cares about dead Russians, or fails to hide the casualties he caused to his people, this will hurt him.

6. The American military recently killed up to 300 Russian troops in Syria.

7. Trump has shifted America’s foreign policy to become dramatically more hawkish toward a number of countries who act as proxies for Russia.  The clearest example is North Korea.  Russia has an extensive history of providing North Korea with weapons, including nuclear weapons.  (Please view this interview with world-class expert Peter Pry for details.)  Russia even threatens to go to war with America to defend North Korea.  Notwithstanding Russian intimidation, Trump has pushed a policy of steadily increasing pressure on North Korea via sanctions.  Trump even explicitly called out Russia for its help for North Korea.  (That’s a fact America’s mainstream media have been hiding for decades).

Iran is another country that works with the backing of Russia.  Trump has begun rolling back the dangerous and misnamed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  When Iranians began revolting against the ayatollah, Trump offered them the full moral support of America.  Trump has also taken steps to strengthen America’s alliance with enemies of Iran.

Yet another example is Venezuela.  Russia is a good friend to Venezuela.  The Russians supplied Hugo Chávez and have since been supplying Nicolas Maduro with military weapons as well as billions of dollars.  In response, Trump is upping sanctions.  He has even threatened an American military intervention. 

In sum, Trump is containing and hurting the many arms of a devious Russian foreign policy.

8. Trump closed three Russian diplomatic compounds.

9. Trump placed sanctions on Russians.

10. Trump is pushing for a stronger military.  This includes auditing the Pentagon to remove waste and corruption, as well as significantly increased spending.  Russian governance and foreign policy are still based on hard power.  American military might is a key to respond to and deter any actions Russia may take that threaten American national security.

11. Trump has repeatedly pushed for modernization of America’s nuclear forces.  With a utopian view of the world, many previous presidents had allowed America’s nuclear deterrent to become “dangerously obsolete.”  Russia, on the other hand, has been hard at work.  The Russian defense minister recently stated that Russia will “continue a massive program of nuclear rearmament.”  A modernized American nuclear arsenal is essential to deter Russia and protect Americans.

12. Finally, and most important of all, Trump is doing his best to restore the confidence of Americans in America.  This is the basis for any success we may have.

I am frustrated to still hear the silliness about how President Donald Trump is soft on Russia.  It continues to be a mainstream talking point, repeated by congresspeople pushing impeachment and pundits like Max “I would rather vote for Stalin than Trump” Boot.  Our friends the Germans even made this disgusting parade float of a Russian bear sodomizing Trump.

Their argument is insane.  Not tethered to reality.  A supreme attempt to gaslight normal people.

Below is a list of all the ways that Trump’s policies are anathema to Moscow.  They are coordinated and deliberate, to help America and undermine Russia.  Trump may not be saying as many mean things about Putin as the media say about Trump, but he has taken the concrete actions of a dead serious man.

As a point of contrast, please keep in mind that ex-president Barack Obama’s pro-Russian policies included granting Russia permanent normal trade relations, ushering the Russians into the WTO, and a “reset button.”  It would be easy to go on at length about how Obama helped Russia.

Without further ado, the list:

1. Trump is unleashing the American energy industry: more fracking, more offshore drilling, and approval for the Keystone Pipeline.  This is important because 52% of the Russian government budget comes from sales of oil and gas.  Increased American supplies of fossil fuels will push global prices down, costing Putin many billions of dollars on a recurring basis.

2. Trump took the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA).

Putin was a strong backer of the PCA.  He said, “[C]limate change has become one of the gravest challenges that humanity is facing” and called for a legally binding treaty.  He has a few motivations for this.  First, each time the U.S. submits to international treaties and organizations, Russia gains control over America.  Second, as part of the PCA, Obama wanted to donate $3 billion to a Green Climate Fund.  These international funds are ripe for plunder by Russia.  Finally, the PCA would hurt American coal and help Russian gas.

3. Trump is permitting American companies to export liquefied natural gas.  The first shipment arrived in Poland in June of 2017.  A Polish diplomat described it as a “milestone.”  This will help Poland avoid “energy bullying” from Russia.  In addition to weakening Russia’s position politically, it will, once again, hurt Russia economically.  (Angela Merkel and Germany prefer Russian gas.)

Note how many policies Trump has coordinated that hurt Russia economically in a significant way.  Trump is, as Theodore Roosevelt would say, “speaking softly and carrying a big stick.”

4. Trump approved a deal to sell Poland an anti-missile defense system.  Russia will become weaker politically because it will have less leverage to blackmail Poland.  Russia’s comparative military strength is being diminished.  It will have a harder time attacking Poland – a threat the Polish people live with daily and take seriously.

5. Trump has approved the sale of $47 billion’s worth of defensive arms to Ukraine.  This was a move that “lawmakers of both parties have been urging for years.”  Russians will die because of this.  Insofar as Putin cares about dead Russians, or fails to hide the casualties he caused to his people, this will hurt him.

6. The American military recently killed up to 300 Russian troops in Syria.

7. Trump has shifted America’s foreign policy to become dramatically more hawkish toward a number of countries who act as proxies for Russia.  The clearest example is North Korea.  Russia has an extensive history of providing North Korea with weapons, including nuclear weapons.  (Please view this interview with world-class expert Peter Pry for details.)  Russia even threatens to go to war with America to defend North Korea.  Notwithstanding Russian intimidation, Trump has pushed a policy of steadily increasing pressure on North Korea via sanctions.  Trump even explicitly called out Russia for its help for North Korea.  (That’s a fact America’s mainstream media have been hiding for decades).

Iran is another country that works with the backing of Russia.  Trump has begun rolling back the dangerous and misnamed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  When Iranians began revolting against the ayatollah, Trump offered them the full moral support of America.  Trump has also taken steps to strengthen America’s alliance with enemies of Iran.

Yet another example is Venezuela.  Russia is a good friend to Venezuela.  The Russians supplied Hugo Chávez and have since been supplying Nicolas Maduro with military weapons as well as billions of dollars.  In response, Trump is upping sanctions.  He has even threatened an American military intervention. 

In sum, Trump is containing and hurting the many arms of a devious Russian foreign policy.

8. Trump closed three Russian diplomatic compounds.

9. Trump placed sanctions on Russians.

10. Trump is pushing for a stronger military.  This includes auditing the Pentagon to remove waste and corruption, as well as significantly increased spending.  Russian governance and foreign policy are still based on hard power.  American military might is a key to respond to and deter any actions Russia may take that threaten American national security.

11. Trump has repeatedly pushed for modernization of America’s nuclear forces.  With a utopian view of the world, many previous presidents had allowed America’s nuclear deterrent to become “dangerously obsolete.”  Russia, on the other hand, has been hard at work.  The Russian defense minister recently stated that Russia will “continue a massive program of nuclear rearmament.”  A modernized American nuclear arsenal is essential to deter Russia and protect Americans.

12. Finally, and most important of all, Trump is doing his best to restore the confidence of Americans in America.  This is the basis for any success we may have.



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Trump, Russia, and the Red Sparrow


We longtime New Yorkers know full well that Donald Trump is no Russian Connection.  But the FBI won’t disavow the infamous “Steele Dossier,” and ex-FBI chief Robert Mueller, now the special counsel, persists in his quest.  What is going on?  The answer may lie in the just released Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller Red Sparrow.

But first, that absurd dossier.  All of us from the New York business community know that the dossier is a fake.  Here’s why.  Remember the lurid highlight of the dossier, that Trump cavorted with Russian prostitutes in a Moscow Hotel while the girls peed on Trump’s hotel room bed?  Not possible.  The Donald Trump we know was for years an extreme germophobe, who would have recoiled in horror at such an idea.

Let me tell you a story.

Years ago, a real estate colleague invited me to a lunch in New York where Trump was the speaker.  As the talk ended, and we headed to the podium to introduce ourselves, my host laughingly told me, “Don’t try to shake his hand.  Donald is a super-germophobe, and he thinks touching hands is dirty!”  Sure enough, when I got to the podium and stuck out my hand, Mr. Trump raised his hand as though waving hello, and said nice to see you.  But no handshake.  No touching from the germophobe.

That is the real Donald Trump.  Do you think for a moment that such a germophobe participated in some vulgar peeing game in a Moscow hotel room?  Not a chance.

Of course, as Donald Trump embarked on his presidential campaign, he worked hard to overcome his germophobe past.  I watched with curiosity at his early appearances, to see if he would pick up a baby.  Well, in the campaign, he did, so winning mattered more than germs.  Nonetheless, the dossier pee story, from years earlier, is absurdly out of character.  I know it.  All New York knows it.  And I am sure the U.S. intelligence community, that must have an awesomely complete background profile of Mr. Trump, also knows it.  The only guy who didn’t know Donald Trump, and didn’t know that the peeing story was impossible, was this ex-British spy Steele who wrote the dossier.  The ex-spy made up a story that he was too ill informed to know was not plausible.

Do some in the U.S. intelligence community really believe this nonsense?  I am afraid so.

Let me tell you another story.

Last summer, I attended a gathering with Jim Clapper, the former National Intelligence director to President Obama.  Of course, Director Clapper discussed Trump and the election.  I found Director Clapper an earnest and well intentioned patriot, clearly proud of his long work on behalf of the United States.  And Director Clapper was unequivocal.  Russia had “hacked” the election, he said.  Asking what “hacked” meant, Director Clapper did not describe physical tampering with a machine or software, but rather an interference of ideas.  His lead example: “Just look at RT.”

That left me puzzled.  RT, which stands for “Russia Today,” is a Russian news service.  You can find its articles on the internet and on Twitter every day. But why the subtly slanted political stories of RT constituted hacking, I do not know.  At the time Director Clapper spoke to us, RT was running a series of articles on the glorious chronology of the Russian communist 1917 Revolution.  So RT’s outlook and propaganda were obvious to anyone.  This is a Russian communist news service.  But so what?  I read RT often, for its interesting articles on science.  When I read other articles – for example, on the Syrian war, where Russia has intervened – I am obviously reading the official Russian take.  That is not “hacking” as I understand the word.  Just the Russian government promoting its agenda.

Director Clapper rightly abhors the Russian agenda, and I suspect that he equally abhors any U.S. figure not angling for a fight with Russia.  That gets us to Mr. Trump.

In the decades I have heard Donald Trump speak on current issues, his first interest has always been the same: failing U.S. infrastructure.  Mr. Trump would lead his talks with complaints at the mess around the JFK airport in New York City, and ask, “Why do we live in the greatest city in the World and have a third-world airport?”  (Good question, by the way.)  But while Mr. Trump’s public focus had usually been rebuilding infrastructure, he did have another theme: the scary reality of Russia and the U.S. facing each other with devastating nuclear weapons.  I recall one funny interview Mr. Trump did some 30 years ago, where he suggested that President Reagan appoint Mr. Trump a special ambassador on arms control so he could go “make a deal” with Russia to reduce the risk of nuclear war!  Of course, diplomatic professionals were aghast that a brash real estate guy in New York thought he could “do a deal” on arms with the Russians!  And maybe Mr. Trump was being his usual very eager and very confident self.  But so what?  We all know Donald Trump, and that is his persona.

And we all also know who was compromised during the West’s Cold War with the Soviet Union: the left that so loved socialism.  A famous case was the Norwegian Labor Party politician Arne Treholt, once a youth socialist activist who ended up in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, convicted in 1984 of being one of the Cold War’s most famous spies.  But look at Treholt versus Trump.  Treholt was a left-wing politician.  Trump entered politics championing Ross Perot’s Reform Party, a nationalist movement that was the opposite of the International Left.

But I suspect that when Director Clapper looks at Donald Trump, he doesn’t see that typically brash New York City real estate guy.  He sees only the dark and menacing Russian threat.  Today’s Russia is a threat, but that is not Trump’s doing.  In the years after the fall of Communism in 1989, the West had a chance to integrate Russia into Europe.  Instead, the advisers from the West who went to Moscow to help form a post-communist Russia lost a historic opportunity.  But Trump had no role in that failure; the culprits were our Liberal elite.  When Institutional Investor magazine published its exposé of this disaster, the paper called it “How Harvard Lost Russia” (2006).  And the economic adviser who presided over the failure of integration was Harvard’s Jeffrey Sachs, protégé of Republican Harvard economist Martin Feldstein.  Sachs now heads Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  In the wake of our Establishment’s failure to bring Russia into Europe, oligarchs and thugs like the former KGB officer Vladimir Putin took over the remains, rebuilt the Russian military, and now confront Europe and America, just as in the height of the Cold War.  But none of this fiasco has anything to do with Trump.

Today’s Russia is scary, but when Trump and his short-lived foreign policy adviser General Michael Flynn began to promote negotiation and rapprochement, they were not colluding.  They were trying to undo failures of our foreign policy establishment.  Sadly, I worry that Director Clapper and his allies so despise Trump’s criticism of our own failures that they set in motion and to this day promote a “collusion” story with lurid absurdities like the “pee-pee” dossier.

This brings me to the Red Sparrow, a Jennifer Lawrence movie about the Russian intelligence services.  You may not want to go see it.  In order to depict an evil Russia, the movie has scenes of violence and shocking vulgarity that go beyond even the outer boundaries of newly “realistic” war movies.  They are horrifying.  Of course, that is the point.

The Russia depicted in Red Sparrow is pure, nauseating evil.  I wonder: is this film released now to play to the Russia-is-bad narrative that is the cover for the attack on Mr. Trump?

Though I have no doubt that Director Clapper is a patriot, the dossier smear against Donald Trump is ignorant of Trump’s past and of Cold War history, and it diverts us from dealing today with a new Russian challenge – a challenge not of Mr. Trump’s creation, but arising from the horrific failures of our foreign policy establishment.

We longtime New Yorkers know full well that Donald Trump is no Russian Connection.  But the FBI won’t disavow the infamous “Steele Dossier,” and ex-FBI chief Robert Mueller, now the special counsel, persists in his quest.  What is going on?  The answer may lie in the just released Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller Red Sparrow.

But first, that absurd dossier.  All of us from the New York business community know that the dossier is a fake.  Here’s why.  Remember the lurid highlight of the dossier, that Trump cavorted with Russian prostitutes in a Moscow Hotel while the girls peed on Trump’s hotel room bed?  Not possible.  The Donald Trump we know was for years an extreme germophobe, who would have recoiled in horror at such an idea.

Let me tell you a story.

Years ago, a real estate colleague invited me to a lunch in New York where Trump was the speaker.  As the talk ended, and we headed to the podium to introduce ourselves, my host laughingly told me, “Don’t try to shake his hand.  Donald is a super-germophobe, and he thinks touching hands is dirty!”  Sure enough, when I got to the podium and stuck out my hand, Mr. Trump raised his hand as though waving hello, and said nice to see you.  But no handshake.  No touching from the germophobe.

That is the real Donald Trump.  Do you think for a moment that such a germophobe participated in some vulgar peeing game in a Moscow hotel room?  Not a chance.

Of course, as Donald Trump embarked on his presidential campaign, he worked hard to overcome his germophobe past.  I watched with curiosity at his early appearances, to see if he would pick up a baby.  Well, in the campaign, he did, so winning mattered more than germs.  Nonetheless, the dossier pee story, from years earlier, is absurdly out of character.  I know it.  All New York knows it.  And I am sure the U.S. intelligence community, that must have an awesomely complete background profile of Mr. Trump, also knows it.  The only guy who didn’t know Donald Trump, and didn’t know that the peeing story was impossible, was this ex-British spy Steele who wrote the dossier.  The ex-spy made up a story that he was too ill informed to know was not plausible.

Do some in the U.S. intelligence community really believe this nonsense?  I am afraid so.

Let me tell you another story.

Last summer, I attended a gathering with Jim Clapper, the former National Intelligence director to President Obama.  Of course, Director Clapper discussed Trump and the election.  I found Director Clapper an earnest and well intentioned patriot, clearly proud of his long work on behalf of the United States.  And Director Clapper was unequivocal.  Russia had “hacked” the election, he said.  Asking what “hacked” meant, Director Clapper did not describe physical tampering with a machine or software, but rather an interference of ideas.  His lead example: “Just look at RT.”

That left me puzzled.  RT, which stands for “Russia Today,” is a Russian news service.  You can find its articles on the internet and on Twitter every day. But why the subtly slanted political stories of RT constituted hacking, I do not know.  At the time Director Clapper spoke to us, RT was running a series of articles on the glorious chronology of the Russian communist 1917 Revolution.  So RT’s outlook and propaganda were obvious to anyone.  This is a Russian communist news service.  But so what?  I read RT often, for its interesting articles on science.  When I read other articles – for example, on the Syrian war, where Russia has intervened – I am obviously reading the official Russian take.  That is not “hacking” as I understand the word.  Just the Russian government promoting its agenda.

Director Clapper rightly abhors the Russian agenda, and I suspect that he equally abhors any U.S. figure not angling for a fight with Russia.  That gets us to Mr. Trump.

In the decades I have heard Donald Trump speak on current issues, his first interest has always been the same: failing U.S. infrastructure.  Mr. Trump would lead his talks with complaints at the mess around the JFK airport in New York City, and ask, “Why do we live in the greatest city in the World and have a third-world airport?”  (Good question, by the way.)  But while Mr. Trump’s public focus had usually been rebuilding infrastructure, he did have another theme: the scary reality of Russia and the U.S. facing each other with devastating nuclear weapons.  I recall one funny interview Mr. Trump did some 30 years ago, where he suggested that President Reagan appoint Mr. Trump a special ambassador on arms control so he could go “make a deal” with Russia to reduce the risk of nuclear war!  Of course, diplomatic professionals were aghast that a brash real estate guy in New York thought he could “do a deal” on arms with the Russians!  And maybe Mr. Trump was being his usual very eager and very confident self.  But so what?  We all know Donald Trump, and that is his persona.

And we all also know who was compromised during the West’s Cold War with the Soviet Union: the left that so loved socialism.  A famous case was the Norwegian Labor Party politician Arne Treholt, once a youth socialist activist who ended up in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, convicted in 1984 of being one of the Cold War’s most famous spies.  But look at Treholt versus Trump.  Treholt was a left-wing politician.  Trump entered politics championing Ross Perot’s Reform Party, a nationalist movement that was the opposite of the International Left.

But I suspect that when Director Clapper looks at Donald Trump, he doesn’t see that typically brash New York City real estate guy.  He sees only the dark and menacing Russian threat.  Today’s Russia is a threat, but that is not Trump’s doing.  In the years after the fall of Communism in 1989, the West had a chance to integrate Russia into Europe.  Instead, the advisers from the West who went to Moscow to help form a post-communist Russia lost a historic opportunity.  But Trump had no role in that failure; the culprits were our Liberal elite.  When Institutional Investor magazine published its exposé of this disaster, the paper called it “How Harvard Lost Russia” (2006).  And the economic adviser who presided over the failure of integration was Harvard’s Jeffrey Sachs, protégé of Republican Harvard economist Martin Feldstein.  Sachs now heads Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  In the wake of our Establishment’s failure to bring Russia into Europe, oligarchs and thugs like the former KGB officer Vladimir Putin took over the remains, rebuilt the Russian military, and now confront Europe and America, just as in the height of the Cold War.  But none of this fiasco has anything to do with Trump.

Today’s Russia is scary, but when Trump and his short-lived foreign policy adviser General Michael Flynn began to promote negotiation and rapprochement, they were not colluding.  They were trying to undo failures of our foreign policy establishment.  Sadly, I worry that Director Clapper and his allies so despise Trump’s criticism of our own failures that they set in motion and to this day promote a “collusion” story with lurid absurdities like the “pee-pee” dossier.

This brings me to the Red Sparrow, a Jennifer Lawrence movie about the Russian intelligence services.  You may not want to go see it.  In order to depict an evil Russia, the movie has scenes of violence and shocking vulgarity that go beyond even the outer boundaries of newly “realistic” war movies.  They are horrifying.  Of course, that is the point.

The Russia depicted in Red Sparrow is pure, nauseating evil.  I wonder: is this film released now to play to the Russia-is-bad narrative that is the cover for the attack on Mr. Trump?

Though I have no doubt that Director Clapper is a patriot, the dossier smear against Donald Trump is ignorant of Trump’s past and of Cold War history, and it diverts us from dealing today with a new Russian challenge – a challenge not of Mr. Trump’s creation, but arising from the horrific failures of our foreign policy establishment.



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Immigration Disaster Looms in Germany


Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible.  This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line.  Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people.

Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning in 2015, Germany accepted 1.4 million asylum applications.  According to detailed figures from 2016, 71.4% were granted asylum or “subsidiary” protected status, while 28.6% were rejected.  Being rejected, however, did not at all mean that you had to leave Germany or were in danger of being deported.  Most of those rejected filed an appeal (64,251 in 2016), and 31.7% of those received a negative decision.  Even then, few of those rejected left voluntarily, and even fewer were deported.  According to the daily Die Welt, citing government figures, most of the migrants remain in Germany, regardless of the asylum decision.

Because very few of the refugees would qualify as persecuted for their political or religious beliefs, the traditional reasons for claiming refugee status, under Merkel, the German government has de facto created a right to better life for migrants from poor countries, which means that the economic incentives to migration remain extremely powerful.  Indeed, nobody in Germany has any illusions about this.  The difference between the nominally conservative CSU of Bavaria and the pro-immigration social democrats (SPD), for instance, is that the former want to limit immigration to 200,000 per annum, while the latter do not want any limits at all.

In reality, this is a phony debate, because German law allows chain migration, which means that the actual numbers will be dramatically higher in the future, regardless of politicians’ grandstanding.  The law says a recognized refugee has the right to bring in his spouse and children, while minor migrants, who made 36% of the total in 2016, can also bring their parents and their siblings.  Since 2015, 230,000 migrants have had their reunification applications accepted, while another 390,000 refugees from Syria alone will be eligible by the end of 2018, according to the Focus Online weekly of August 29, 2017.  On the basis of these figures alone, reunification will bring at least 2.5 million migrants in the next few years.  Should the approved minimum of 200,000 migrants per year materialize, which is nearly certain, the yearly addition of mostly Muslim and mostly young migrants would swell to approximately 800,000.  This could easily overwhelm a country that has a median age of 47.1 and a fertility rate of 1.47, nearly a third below replacement.

Dismal as these prospects are, of more immediate concern are the huge and clearly unsustainable social and economic costs of the large-scale migration that has already taken place.  The mainstream media in Germany are as predictably leftist and pro-immigration as their American counterparts and are notoriously reluctant to report the reality, but the numerous existing think-tanks and institutes make sure that it cannot be hidden for long.  Various institutes estimate migrants per capita cost at 2,500 euros per month and twice as much for unaccompanied minors.  The total cost per year per million refugees ranges from a low of 30 billion euros by the federal minister of development, Gerd Mueller, to 77 billion euros and more.  It’s worth noting that even the lowest figure is higher than the 27 billion euros Germany spends on its defense budget and that the actual number of migrants at present is already much closer to 2 million.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding about the new wave of migrants is that contrary to the early sanguine predictions by the left of a new “Wirtschaftswunder” in Germany on account of the migrant labor, the future is anything but rosy.  Research has shown that most new migrants have neither much of an education nor any skills.  According to the World Bank, only 6% of Syrian refugees have finished high school, and 59% do not have any education.  And the Syrians are considerably better off in this respect than migrants from Africa – or Afghanistan, for instance, where 52% of the male migrants are illiterate.

Nor are earlier assimilation efforts with the gastarbeiter of the 1960s and 1970s much of a success.  According to a study of the German Institute for Economic Research, most Turks in Germany still live off welfare.  They also continue to entertain strong Islamist sympathies after decades of living in Europe.  Sixty-three percent of them voted for the Islamist Erdoğan in the recent referendum in Turkey, a percentage considerably higher than that in Turkey proper.

Finally, Chancellor Merkel again threatened Eastern Europe with economic consequences in a speech to the Bundestag on February 22.  Follow my disastrous migration policies and take your “fair share” of migrants, she told them, or else.  This is the kind of “solidarity” Eastern Europe should have no problem refusing.

AlexAlexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies.  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible.  This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line.  Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people.

Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning in 2015, Germany accepted 1.4 million asylum applications.  According to detailed figures from 2016, 71.4% were granted asylum or “subsidiary” protected status, while 28.6% were rejected.  Being rejected, however, did not at all mean that you had to leave Germany or were in danger of being deported.  Most of those rejected filed an appeal (64,251 in 2016), and 31.7% of those received a negative decision.  Even then, few of those rejected left voluntarily, and even fewer were deported.  According to the daily Die Welt, citing government figures, most of the migrants remain in Germany, regardless of the asylum decision.

Because very few of the refugees would qualify as persecuted for their political or religious beliefs, the traditional reasons for claiming refugee status, under Merkel, the German government has de facto created a right to better life for migrants from poor countries, which means that the economic incentives to migration remain extremely powerful.  Indeed, nobody in Germany has any illusions about this.  The difference between the nominally conservative CSU of Bavaria and the pro-immigration social democrats (SPD), for instance, is that the former want to limit immigration to 200,000 per annum, while the latter do not want any limits at all.

In reality, this is a phony debate, because German law allows chain migration, which means that the actual numbers will be dramatically higher in the future, regardless of politicians’ grandstanding.  The law says a recognized refugee has the right to bring in his spouse and children, while minor migrants, who made 36% of the total in 2016, can also bring their parents and their siblings.  Since 2015, 230,000 migrants have had their reunification applications accepted, while another 390,000 refugees from Syria alone will be eligible by the end of 2018, according to the Focus Online weekly of August 29, 2017.  On the basis of these figures alone, reunification will bring at least 2.5 million migrants in the next few years.  Should the approved minimum of 200,000 migrants per year materialize, which is nearly certain, the yearly addition of mostly Muslim and mostly young migrants would swell to approximately 800,000.  This could easily overwhelm a country that has a median age of 47.1 and a fertility rate of 1.47, nearly a third below replacement.

Dismal as these prospects are, of more immediate concern are the huge and clearly unsustainable social and economic costs of the large-scale migration that has already taken place.  The mainstream media in Germany are as predictably leftist and pro-immigration as their American counterparts and are notoriously reluctant to report the reality, but the numerous existing think-tanks and institutes make sure that it cannot be hidden for long.  Various institutes estimate migrants per capita cost at 2,500 euros per month and twice as much for unaccompanied minors.  The total cost per year per million refugees ranges from a low of 30 billion euros by the federal minister of development, Gerd Mueller, to 77 billion euros and more.  It’s worth noting that even the lowest figure is higher than the 27 billion euros Germany spends on its defense budget and that the actual number of migrants at present is already much closer to 2 million.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding about the new wave of migrants is that contrary to the early sanguine predictions by the left of a new “Wirtschaftswunder” in Germany on account of the migrant labor, the future is anything but rosy.  Research has shown that most new migrants have neither much of an education nor any skills.  According to the World Bank, only 6% of Syrian refugees have finished high school, and 59% do not have any education.  And the Syrians are considerably better off in this respect than migrants from Africa – or Afghanistan, for instance, where 52% of the male migrants are illiterate.

Nor are earlier assimilation efforts with the gastarbeiter of the 1960s and 1970s much of a success.  According to a study of the German Institute for Economic Research, most Turks in Germany still live off welfare.  They also continue to entertain strong Islamist sympathies after decades of living in Europe.  Sixty-three percent of them voted for the Islamist Erdoğan in the recent referendum in Turkey, a percentage considerably higher than that in Turkey proper.

Finally, Chancellor Merkel again threatened Eastern Europe with economic consequences in a speech to the Bundestag on February 22.  Follow my disastrous migration policies and take your “fair share” of migrants, she told them, or else.  This is the kind of “solidarity” Eastern Europe should have no problem refusing.

AlexAlexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies.  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.



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NRA Member Stopped Massacre with AR-15


Stephen Willeford wasn’t invited to the recent CNN town hall in which the bloviating coward of Broward, Sheriff Scott Israel (aka Barney Fife), was allowed to browbeat NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch about the evils of guns in general and the AR-15 in general.  Nor was he invited to the White House meeting between President Trump and those affected by mass shootings such as the one at Parkland.

He should have been at both, if only to remind both the grieving and the self-righteous that guns in general and the AR-15 in particular, which has been misrepresented by gun control zealots as an “assault rifle,” can be used by good guys to save lives as well as by bad guys to take them.  He is the hero of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who, hearing the sound of gunfire at a nearby church, grabbed the AR-15 he had taught others to use as an NRA instructor and chased down the mass murderer who had shot up the First Baptist Church before he could continue his murder spree elsewhere:

The hero who last November stopped the gunman behind the deadly Texas church massacre said using an AR-15 enabled him to end the bloodshed.  In an emotional interview with CRTV’s “Louder With Crowder” on Monday, Stephen Willeford described the gunfight and dramatic car chase that ensued to stop the shooter from slaughtering additional churchgoers.


The former National Rifle Association instructor was home Sunday morning when his daughter told Willeford she had heard gunshots from the nearby Baptist church, prompting him to get his AR-15 rifle from his safe and load a magazine.  He ran to the church and confronted the alleged shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, who fired shots at Willeford.  While taking cover behind a pickup truck, Willeford fired several shots at the gunman, who sped away in his car.


Willeford ran to a truck stopped at a stop sign and asked the driver to help him to stop Kelley, who had a history of domestic violence and had been kicked out of the military.  The two men pursued the gunman, whom [sic] officials say wore tactical gear and a bullet-proof vest, down a nearby highway until the vehicle eventually careened off the side of the road.  When police arrived, Kelley was found dead on the scene with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as well as two other gunshot wounds – one on his leg and one on his torso.  Officials believe the gunman took his own life.


“If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile,” Willeford said.  “I ran out with an AR-15 and that’s what he was shooting the place up with.”

If a good guy with a gun had been inside the First Baptist Church, instead of outside, the killer could have been blown away.  Texas attorney general Ken Paxton pointed out what should be obvious: that we don’t need more unarmed potential victims sitting like sheep, targets in what amounts to a gun-free zone.

Paxton pointed out that there were numerous laws already on the books, including “laws against murder,” and the attacker violated those laws without hesitation.  He observed, “So adding some other gun law, I don’t think would in any way change this guy’s behavior.”


He added:


It’s not clear to me that [the attacker] wasn’t already prevented from having a gun, given his history in the military. What ultimately may have saved some lives is… people that were outside the church that actually had guns that may have slowed this guy down and actually pursued him. So I would rather arm law-abiding citizens and make sure that they can prevent this from happening as opposed to trying to pass laws that would prevent law-abiding citizens from having guns.

A good guy with a gun once again stopped a bad guy with a gun, just as a good gal with a gun, Jeanne Assam, stopped a bad guy with a gun.  Many were thankful that Assam, a volunteer security guard at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, had easy access to a gun when Matthew Murray entered the east entrance of the church and began firing his rifle.  Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

Assam, who worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon, shot and killed Murray.  Had she not done so, more than two would have been killed at the church that day.

Banning “scary” weapons like the AR-15 based on their appearance is nonsense.  Other non-scary weapons are just as lethal, and the AR-15 is often the defensive weapon of choice.  Former Navy SEAL Dean Raso is quoted in The Federalist as describing the AR-15 as, in fact, the ideal defensive weapon against heavily armed predators:

In a new video, former Navy SEAL Dom Raso explains why the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the country, gives Americans the best chance of surviving in an age of terror.


Choosing to defend one’s home with an AR-15 is a commonsense choice, as it is powerful, accurate, and easy to shoot, Raso said.


Gun control legislation doesn’t stop terror attacks, he explained, citing the two terrorists who weren’t deterred by California’s assault weapons ban when they killed 14 people in San Bernardino last year.  Nor would any gun ban have stopped the Boston Bombers when they detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding at least 260 others.


Ironically, both of those incidents of terror were brought to a stop by armed police officers responding to the scene with AR-15s – the same weapon legislators are trying to ban.


“Why would you want to ban the gun you pray for police to show up with?” Raso asked.

Indeed, why would you?  As has been noted, assault is a behavior and not a weapon, and the AR-15, in the hands of someone like NRA member and hero Scott Willeford, is something to be desired and not feared.  The AR-15 is a defensive weapon, such as when it was used by a 15-year-old to ward off home invaders:

Not only did this brave 15-year-old defend his home against 2 burglars, but also his 12-year-old sister who was in the house with him.  He grabbed his father’s AR-15 and shot one of the burglars multiple times.  They got away but had to go right to the hospital where the minor was arrested and the adult who was shot was flown to a different hospital.

In the hands of British redcoats, the musket was an assault weapon.  In the hands of a law-abiding American such as NRA member and hero Stephen Willeford, an AR-15 is what the Second Amendment is all about.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Stephen Willeford wasn’t invited to the recent CNN town hall in which the bloviating coward of Broward, Sheriff Scott Israel (aka Barney Fife), was allowed to browbeat NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch about the evils of guns in general and the AR-15 in general.  Nor was he invited to the White House meeting between President Trump and those affected by mass shootings such as the one at Parkland.

He should have been at both, if only to remind both the grieving and the self-righteous that guns in general and the AR-15 in particular, which has been misrepresented by gun control zealots as an “assault rifle,” can be used by good guys to save lives as well as by bad guys to take them.  He is the hero of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who, hearing the sound of gunfire at a nearby church, grabbed the AR-15 he had taught others to use as an NRA instructor and chased down the mass murderer who had shot up the First Baptist Church before he could continue his murder spree elsewhere:

The hero who last November stopped the gunman behind the deadly Texas church massacre said using an AR-15 enabled him to end the bloodshed.  In an emotional interview with CRTV’s “Louder With Crowder” on Monday, Stephen Willeford described the gunfight and dramatic car chase that ensued to stop the shooter from slaughtering additional churchgoers.


The former National Rifle Association instructor was home Sunday morning when his daughter told Willeford she had heard gunshots from the nearby Baptist church, prompting him to get his AR-15 rifle from his safe and load a magazine.  He ran to the church and confronted the alleged shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, who fired shots at Willeford.  While taking cover behind a pickup truck, Willeford fired several shots at the gunman, who sped away in his car.


Willeford ran to a truck stopped at a stop sign and asked the driver to help him to stop Kelley, who had a history of domestic violence and had been kicked out of the military.  The two men pursued the gunman, whom [sic] officials say wore tactical gear and a bullet-proof vest, down a nearby highway until the vehicle eventually careened off the side of the road.  When police arrived, Kelley was found dead on the scene with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as well as two other gunshot wounds – one on his leg and one on his torso.  Officials believe the gunman took his own life.


“If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile,” Willeford said.  “I ran out with an AR-15 and that’s what he was shooting the place up with.”

If a good guy with a gun had been inside the First Baptist Church, instead of outside, the killer could have been blown away.  Texas attorney general Ken Paxton pointed out what should be obvious: that we don’t need more unarmed potential victims sitting like sheep, targets in what amounts to a gun-free zone.

Paxton pointed out that there were numerous laws already on the books, including “laws against murder,” and the attacker violated those laws without hesitation.  He observed, “So adding some other gun law, I don’t think would in any way change this guy’s behavior.”


He added:


It’s not clear to me that [the attacker] wasn’t already prevented from having a gun, given his history in the military. What ultimately may have saved some lives is… people that were outside the church that actually had guns that may have slowed this guy down and actually pursued him. So I would rather arm law-abiding citizens and make sure that they can prevent this from happening as opposed to trying to pass laws that would prevent law-abiding citizens from having guns.

A good guy with a gun once again stopped a bad guy with a gun, just as a good gal with a gun, Jeanne Assam, stopped a bad guy with a gun.  Many were thankful that Assam, a volunteer security guard at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, had easy access to a gun when Matthew Murray entered the east entrance of the church and began firing his rifle.  Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

Assam, who worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon, shot and killed Murray.  Had she not done so, more than two would have been killed at the church that day.

Banning “scary” weapons like the AR-15 based on their appearance is nonsense.  Other non-scary weapons are just as lethal, and the AR-15 is often the defensive weapon of choice.  Former Navy SEAL Dean Raso is quoted in The Federalist as describing the AR-15 as, in fact, the ideal defensive weapon against heavily armed predators:

In a new video, former Navy SEAL Dom Raso explains why the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the country, gives Americans the best chance of surviving in an age of terror.


Choosing to defend one’s home with an AR-15 is a commonsense choice, as it is powerful, accurate, and easy to shoot, Raso said.


Gun control legislation doesn’t stop terror attacks, he explained, citing the two terrorists who weren’t deterred by California’s assault weapons ban when they killed 14 people in San Bernardino last year.  Nor would any gun ban have stopped the Boston Bombers when they detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding at least 260 others.


Ironically, both of those incidents of terror were brought to a stop by armed police officers responding to the scene with AR-15s – the same weapon legislators are trying to ban.


“Why would you want to ban the gun you pray for police to show up with?” Raso asked.

Indeed, why would you?  As has been noted, assault is a behavior and not a weapon, and the AR-15, in the hands of someone like NRA member and hero Scott Willeford, is something to be desired and not feared.  The AR-15 is a defensive weapon, such as when it was used by a 15-year-old to ward off home invaders:

Not only did this brave 15-year-old defend his home against 2 burglars, but also his 12-year-old sister who was in the house with him.  He grabbed his father’s AR-15 and shot one of the burglars multiple times.  They got away but had to go right to the hospital where the minor was arrested and the adult who was shot was flown to a different hospital.

In the hands of British redcoats, the musket was an assault weapon.  In the hands of a law-abiding American such as NRA member and hero Stephen Willeford, an AR-15 is what the Second Amendment is all about.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.



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What to Do with Iran's Mullahs


Many pundits predict that it is just a matter of time before the confrontation between the world and Iran’s mullahs, with the U.S. leading the charge, after President Donald Trump threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal, setting off a conflagration.  The present stand-off is bound to change, either by the U.S. use of force to make good on its threat that a nuclear Iran is not acceptable or by the mullahs managing to make the unacceptable an accomplished fact.

Although the main adversaries are the U.S. and Iran, much of the world has a huge stake regarding this potentially catastrophic confrontation.  Israel, the Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iraq, as well as nations farther away from the region, are willing and unwilling parties to this unfolding crisis.

There is a non-violent solution, without appeasement, that offers the best chance for resolving the impasse: change of regime in Iran.

Selected president Hassan Rouhani’s bellicosity notwithstanding, the Islamic Republic of Iran is on the verge of collapse upon the head of the despised mullahs and their emblematic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).  A few nudges from the outside world would serve as the tipping point for the long-suffering Iranians to rise and bury the mullahs in the graveyard that they so richly deserve and have made of Iran.

Here are some indicators of how seriously the Islamic Republic is ailing:

– The $100 barrel of oil is no more.  It is down around $62.  Oil money is the mullahs’ lifeblood.  The Mullahs are strapped.  They can’t pay the salaries of teachers and other government employees, including their terrorist proxies.  Rouhani’s largess to buy and hold his constituency has exacerbated the problem.  The Islamic Republic is unable to continue financing its terrorist clients abroad.

– The great majority of Iranians are fed up with the misrule of the Islamic Republic.  Students, workers, and women’s groups have been at the forefront of fighting the Islamists.  Even among the high-ranking clergy, significant widespread dissention is surfacing.  Ayatollahs in the twin holy cities of Qom and Mashhad are in trouble.  Recent uprisings started in Mashhad and then spread across the country.

– Tehran is already quivering under the mild U.N. and U.S. sanctions and is desperately avoiding tougher Security Council resolution.  The mullahs’ smiling emissary, former president Muhammad Khatami, presented one of the mullahs’ initiatives to Americans and European personalities at the latest World Economic Forum in Davos.  Khatami’s initiative includes the willingness of the mullahs to suspend uranium enrichment under some reasonable-sounding conditions.  At the moment, the Islamic regime has restricted Khatami’s activity, and he is barred from leaving the country.

– The Islamic Republic finds itself isolated and has decided not to carry out its threat of suspending relations with countries that voted in support of the U.N. sanctions, nor have the mullahs summoned the ever ready thugs on their payroll to demonstrate and harass the embassies of those nations.

 – Iran is timidly putting up with the U.S. arrest and interrogation of its senior Revolutionary Guard commanders in Iraq.

– The very mild U.N. sanctions are already rattling the Iranian economy.  Even after the nuclear deal, the perception was that Iran’s economy will excel.  But it backfired.  The rial, Iran’s currency, is shaky; the business community is deeply worried; and thousands of contracts remain unsigned due to uncertainty of what might happen next.

– Experts predict that hundreds of thousands of Iranian workers will join the already swelled ranks of the unemployed in short order, even under the present mild sanctions.  Senior foreign diplomats report a significant “moderation” in the mullahs’ behavior and signs that they wish to get themselves out of the present predicament.

– Fear of a possible attack by the U.S. has badly shaken the morale of the ruling elite, who see their ill gotten wealth and power in serious jeopardy.  The multi-billionaire mullahs are moving their assets out of the country and transferring it to a safer place.

– The Islamic Republic is facing serious setbacks in Lebanon, in the Palestinian Territory, in Syria, and even in Iraq.  The mullahs’ attempt to seize power in Lebanon has aroused much of the Lebanese population against them, and their proxy, Lebanon’s Hezb’allah, is in disarray.  The Iraqi thug-cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, the mullahs’ mercenary force, face serious problems due to the pressures from the U.S. and the Iraqi government.  In recent weeks, hundreds of Mahdi fighters have been killed, and many more have been arrested.

– The above is by no means an exhaustive list of troubles the mullahs face.  Yet they should make us realize that both Rouhani and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his gang are on shaky ground now that the Iranian people in all strata of life in Iran despise them.  A nudge here, a nudge there will likely topple the Islamofascist’s regime and save everyone a lot of trouble.

It is dangerous and unnecessary to attack Iran militarily, nor does the U.S. need to go the route of appeasement with a seriously weak adversary, as the IRI under the rule of the mullahs is now proving itself to be.  The most effective and prudent solution is to change the regime in Iran.  This idea is hardly new.  What is new: here is a list of non-violent undertakings that holds considerable promise in disposing the homicidal-suicidal Mullahs. Governments should enact the following:

– Declare unequivocally the commitment to respect the territorial integrity of Iran, as well as the rights of Iranians to decide, through a democratic process, all matters pertaining to their life and their country.

– Initiate, without delay or equivocation, a comprehensive program of assistance to all democratic Iranian opposition groups, including Mr. Reza Pahlavi, who is popular inside and outside of Iran in their struggle to accomplish the regime change themselves.

– Proclaim far and wide that the cardinal reason for taking these measures against the Mullahs’ “reign of terror” is to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons, the threat they pose to the region as well as to the world, and the stimulus they provide for other nations to develop their own nuclear arsenal.

– Enforce the U.N. sanctions by inspecting every vessel headed for Iranian ports to make sure they are not ferrying prohibited material.  Other than vessels known to be carrying foodstuffs and medicine, each ship should be subjected to an elaborate inspection.

– We should once again Persuade Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and other Persian Gulf Arab oil-producers to significantly increase their output and drastically cut the price.  It is the least they can do to forestall the emergence of a nuclear Shiite Iran bent on ruling the region.

– Obtain court orders to freeze the overseas assets of Iranian leaders, since they are clearly ill gotten funds that rightfully belong to the nation.

– Shut down, or severely restrict the operation of the mullahs’ businesses in Dubai and other Persian Gulf states.

– Shut down Iranian missions.  Severely restrict Iranian officials and nuclear scientists from foreign travel. Recall your ambassadors from Iran.

– Deny the Iranian Airline operation and encourage non-Iranian airlines to cease serving the country.

– File legal charges against the leaders of the Islamic Republic’s wanton violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; for its crimes against humanity and genocidal actions against religious and political groups; for support of international terrorism; for the demolition of religious sites and cemeteries; for rape, torture, and summary execution of prisoners of conscience; for forgery of documents, for acts of blackmail and fraud, and much more.

– Declare and treat the clerical regime as illegitimate.  Stop or slow down Iran’s import of refined petroleum products.

– Shut down the Islamic Republic’s websites and block their television and radio broadcasts.

– Provide Internet and Wi-Fi Access across Iran.

– Identify the agents of the Islamic Republic and prosecute them as promoters of international terrorism.  Investigate individuals and organizations that lobby or front for the Islamic Republic.

– Take all necessary steps to stop investments in Iran.  Persuade banks to refrain from dealing with Iran and the issuance of letters of credit.

– Pressure businesses to stop dealing with Iran.  Pressure governments to stop doing business with Iran.  Warn countries such as China and Russia against commercial adventurism.  

In short, the Iran problem is urgent.  It is a world problem.  A warning to the world: You need to act now.  Apathy is sleep.  If you sleep, you weep.

Image: Gwydion M. Williams via Flickr.

Many pundits predict that it is just a matter of time before the confrontation between the world and Iran’s mullahs, with the U.S. leading the charge, after President Donald Trump threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal, setting off a conflagration.  The present stand-off is bound to change, either by the U.S. use of force to make good on its threat that a nuclear Iran is not acceptable or by the mullahs managing to make the unacceptable an accomplished fact.

Although the main adversaries are the U.S. and Iran, much of the world has a huge stake regarding this potentially catastrophic confrontation.  Israel, the Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iraq, as well as nations farther away from the region, are willing and unwilling parties to this unfolding crisis.

There is a non-violent solution, without appeasement, that offers the best chance for resolving the impasse: change of regime in Iran.

Selected president Hassan Rouhani’s bellicosity notwithstanding, the Islamic Republic of Iran is on the verge of collapse upon the head of the despised mullahs and their emblematic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).  A few nudges from the outside world would serve as the tipping point for the long-suffering Iranians to rise and bury the mullahs in the graveyard that they so richly deserve and have made of Iran.

Here are some indicators of how seriously the Islamic Republic is ailing:

– The $100 barrel of oil is no more.  It is down around $62.  Oil money is the mullahs’ lifeblood.  The Mullahs are strapped.  They can’t pay the salaries of teachers and other government employees, including their terrorist proxies.  Rouhani’s largess to buy and hold his constituency has exacerbated the problem.  The Islamic Republic is unable to continue financing its terrorist clients abroad.

– The great majority of Iranians are fed up with the misrule of the Islamic Republic.  Students, workers, and women’s groups have been at the forefront of fighting the Islamists.  Even among the high-ranking clergy, significant widespread dissention is surfacing.  Ayatollahs in the twin holy cities of Qom and Mashhad are in trouble.  Recent uprisings started in Mashhad and then spread across the country.

– Tehran is already quivering under the mild U.N. and U.S. sanctions and is desperately avoiding tougher Security Council resolution.  The mullahs’ smiling emissary, former president Muhammad Khatami, presented one of the mullahs’ initiatives to Americans and European personalities at the latest World Economic Forum in Davos.  Khatami’s initiative includes the willingness of the mullahs to suspend uranium enrichment under some reasonable-sounding conditions.  At the moment, the Islamic regime has restricted Khatami’s activity, and he is barred from leaving the country.

– The Islamic Republic finds itself isolated and has decided not to carry out its threat of suspending relations with countries that voted in support of the U.N. sanctions, nor have the mullahs summoned the ever ready thugs on their payroll to demonstrate and harass the embassies of those nations.

 – Iran is timidly putting up with the U.S. arrest and interrogation of its senior Revolutionary Guard commanders in Iraq.

– The very mild U.N. sanctions are already rattling the Iranian economy.  Even after the nuclear deal, the perception was that Iran’s economy will excel.  But it backfired.  The rial, Iran’s currency, is shaky; the business community is deeply worried; and thousands of contracts remain unsigned due to uncertainty of what might happen next.

– Experts predict that hundreds of thousands of Iranian workers will join the already swelled ranks of the unemployed in short order, even under the present mild sanctions.  Senior foreign diplomats report a significant “moderation” in the mullahs’ behavior and signs that they wish to get themselves out of the present predicament.

– Fear of a possible attack by the U.S. has badly shaken the morale of the ruling elite, who see their ill gotten wealth and power in serious jeopardy.  The multi-billionaire mullahs are moving their assets out of the country and transferring it to a safer place.

– The Islamic Republic is facing serious setbacks in Lebanon, in the Palestinian Territory, in Syria, and even in Iraq.  The mullahs’ attempt to seize power in Lebanon has aroused much of the Lebanese population against them, and their proxy, Lebanon’s Hezb’allah, is in disarray.  The Iraqi thug-cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, the mullahs’ mercenary force, face serious problems due to the pressures from the U.S. and the Iraqi government.  In recent weeks, hundreds of Mahdi fighters have been killed, and many more have been arrested.

– The above is by no means an exhaustive list of troubles the mullahs face.  Yet they should make us realize that both Rouhani and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his gang are on shaky ground now that the Iranian people in all strata of life in Iran despise them.  A nudge here, a nudge there will likely topple the Islamofascist’s regime and save everyone a lot of trouble.

It is dangerous and unnecessary to attack Iran militarily, nor does the U.S. need to go the route of appeasement with a seriously weak adversary, as the IRI under the rule of the mullahs is now proving itself to be.  The most effective and prudent solution is to change the regime in Iran.  This idea is hardly new.  What is new: here is a list of non-violent undertakings that holds considerable promise in disposing the homicidal-suicidal Mullahs. Governments should enact the following:

– Declare unequivocally the commitment to respect the territorial integrity of Iran, as well as the rights of Iranians to decide, through a democratic process, all matters pertaining to their life and their country.

– Initiate, without delay or equivocation, a comprehensive program of assistance to all democratic Iranian opposition groups, including Mr. Reza Pahlavi, who is popular inside and outside of Iran in their struggle to accomplish the regime change themselves.

– Proclaim far and wide that the cardinal reason for taking these measures against the Mullahs’ “reign of terror” is to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons, the threat they pose to the region as well as to the world, and the stimulus they provide for other nations to develop their own nuclear arsenal.

– Enforce the U.N. sanctions by inspecting every vessel headed for Iranian ports to make sure they are not ferrying prohibited material.  Other than vessels known to be carrying foodstuffs and medicine, each ship should be subjected to an elaborate inspection.

– We should once again Persuade Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and other Persian Gulf Arab oil-producers to significantly increase their output and drastically cut the price.  It is the least they can do to forestall the emergence of a nuclear Shiite Iran bent on ruling the region.

– Obtain court orders to freeze the overseas assets of Iranian leaders, since they are clearly ill gotten funds that rightfully belong to the nation.

– Shut down, or severely restrict the operation of the mullahs’ businesses in Dubai and other Persian Gulf states.

– Shut down Iranian missions.  Severely restrict Iranian officials and nuclear scientists from foreign travel. Recall your ambassadors from Iran.

– Deny the Iranian Airline operation and encourage non-Iranian airlines to cease serving the country.

– File legal charges against the leaders of the Islamic Republic’s wanton violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; for its crimes against humanity and genocidal actions against religious and political groups; for support of international terrorism; for the demolition of religious sites and cemeteries; for rape, torture, and summary execution of prisoners of conscience; for forgery of documents, for acts of blackmail and fraud, and much more.

– Declare and treat the clerical regime as illegitimate.  Stop or slow down Iran’s import of refined petroleum products.

– Shut down the Islamic Republic’s websites and block their television and radio broadcasts.

– Provide Internet and Wi-Fi Access across Iran.

– Identify the agents of the Islamic Republic and prosecute them as promoters of international terrorism.  Investigate individuals and organizations that lobby or front for the Islamic Republic.

– Take all necessary steps to stop investments in Iran.  Persuade banks to refrain from dealing with Iran and the issuance of letters of credit.

– Pressure businesses to stop dealing with Iran.  Pressure governments to stop doing business with Iran.  Warn countries such as China and Russia against commercial adventurism.  

In short, the Iran problem is urgent.  It is a world problem.  A warning to the world: You need to act now.  Apathy is sleep.  If you sleep, you weep.

Image: Gwydion M. Williams via Flickr.



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